Posts tagged ‘interconnectedness’

December 23, 2014

Thoughts on nature from a wilderness dweller

I’m reading an excellent series of books by Chris Czajkowski, a British woman who has for over 30 years lived off the grid, on her own, in cabins she built from scratch in the Chilcotin wilderness of Central British Columbia. Here are a few of her ideas about the natural world and our relationship to it that I think deserve consideration:

Thoughts on silence, from Diary of a Wilderness Dweller:

Most people will spend their whole lives never knowing what it is to live without human noise . . . . These people, and probably the majority in today’s world, will never know the beauty of silence. And if they were presented with it, it is likely that the first thing they would do would be to destroy it.

Thoughts on how we educate our children, from Nuk Tessli: The Life of a Wilderness Dweller:

People who question leaving the city while their kids are still in school, worried that they might “miss out on something” should think again. To teach a child that he belongs in an interdependent ecosystem that deserves respect is surely the greatest, almost the only, inheritance that he or she needs.

And thoughts on the importance of accepting and respecting all aspects of nature (not just its romantic beauty), again from Nuk Tessli:

Nature is fascinating, beautiful, and uplifting to the soul. It is exciting, exquisite and miraculous. But it is also dirty, uncomfortable, itchy and cold, full of disinterested murder and terror, unnecessary cruelty, misery and waste. To accept the wilderness you have to understand that both sides are valid, both are part of the intricate relationships that give us our water, air, all life-support systems and sanity. To deny one side of nature is to abrogate the other, and to understand the essence of these natural laws provides insight into our own behaviour as a species. We are part of nature and nature is part of us. To ignore that is to ignore reality, and I am afraid that is what most people do.

February 2, 2013

Life is random, like a bouncey-castle

Salman Rushdie’s novel The Ground Beneath Her Feet provides this wonderful perspective on the randomness of human relationships, and of life in general:

Our lives disconnect and reconnect, we move on, and later we may again touch one another, again bounce away.  This is the felt shape of a human life, neither simply linear nor wholly disjunctive [detached] nor endlessly bifurcating [forking into two paths], but rather this bouncey-castle sequence of bumpings-into and tumblings-apart.

Life’s encounters, Rushdie suggests, are completely random.  You might be able to choose which bouncey-castle you enter — or even whether you enter at all — but once inside, you can’t control exactly where the motions will take you.  You certainly won’t travel in a straight line, or bounce around in isolation, or move either up or down, left or right, according to your choice.  Instead, you’ll careen around the place, crashing into some people while never quite reaching others.  You’ll be hit from behind — unexpectedly knocked off course — by some encounters, while others will bounce right into your arms when you least expect it.  Even if you do control your trajectory for a while, you never know what the ground beneath you is doing — how it is rippling and rolling in response to the leaps and bounds of the other people cartwheeling around in there with you.  What seems like stable footing might suddenly shift under your feet, throw you left when you wanted right, tumble you head over heels who knows where.  No matter how you set your course, you never know exactly where your bounces will take you, and you never know who or what is heading your way.

What I like about this concept is that it encourages each of us to make the most of — to “jump on” — those bumpings-into that truly intrigue and attract us while we can.  At the exact moment when we cross paths or bounce in parallel with a like-minded soul, we have the ability, the opportunity, to reach out and hold on, to travel together for a while, wrapped in each other’s arms, until momentum pulls us apart.  These moments of shared travel may not last long, but we can live them fully while they’re there, until we tumble away into something new.